“The number of girls appearing is less so we can’t really compare their selection numbers with boys. Numerical targets are not implementable and not desirable,” said professor Hari Sreekumar, head of placements at IIM-Trichy. “But we will give weightage to gender in the selection process so as to have a better balance. It does appear to have improved diversity on the campus.” Hari Sreekumar also said girls probably stand a better chance of getting selected at the same marks today than a few years ago.

Overall, the number of girls taking CAT went up from 56,050 in 2011 to 60,876 in 2012, a minor increase given that the total number of candidates who appeared for CAT this year, is 2.14 lakh.

Supporters of the move to create more representation for women have said it would help to usher in a mix of managers in the upper echelons of the corporate world. While a majority of IIMs said they do not have internal targets for diversity, many measures initiated, including awarding weightage to gender, are improving the situation every year.

Director of IIM-Kozhikode Debashis Chatterjee said, “IIM Kozhikode initiated 35% recruitment for women in a batch” and that it has become a “national trend”. IIM-Kozhikode and IIM-Lucknow, along with the six new IIMs — Kashipur, Raipur, Ranchi, Rohtak, Trichy and Udaipur — are in the forefront.

S S S Kumar, a faculty member of IIM-Kozhikode and convenor of CAT 2012, said the exam is only one of several parameters used for admission by individual institutes based on their policy. He added, however, that IIMs have to reveal these weightages in advance.

IIM-Ahmedabad denied having measures for representation of girls and non-engineers. “Regarding tweaking of weightages, some institutes have this policy, but not IIM-A. My contention is it is a reflection of society and the fact that most people join engineering because one has better chances of getting a job which gets reflected as the higher percentage of engineering students. Around 17% of our students are girls, which is an improvement from some years ago when it was 10%. This year we hope girls would make up 18%-20 % of the population,” said A K Laha, chairperson of admissions at IIM-A.